Fiction | April 28, 2014

This is the one day each year they come to him, enshrouded in blankets and footed rompers, matching sets of pink plaids and blue stars or T-shirts proudly declaring personal interests in trucks or ladybugs. Nowhere else do so many twins and triplets, all under the age of five, congregate en masse. Julian, stationed with a chair and a photographer, looks something like a wasting Santa Claus. He scoops them up—one in each arm if they are small enough—to smile for the camera. The babies rarely cry. They touch his thick eyebrows, his prominent nose. They have to be coaxed to look at the photographer.

The reunion is one of Julian’s favorite days each year. It is the only day he works in the sunlight, one of the few times he allows himself to relax. He spends half his life in the operating room. The lawn between the hospital and the parking garage has been set up with rental tables and a tent, and a food truck stationed in the entry drive serves burgers to the families. Older children, now four and five, race around the perimeter with blades of grass stuck to their sweaty faces, waving their sticky popsicle fingers—exhibiting their dominion over this place, their right to be.

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